Recently, there has been a big uproar in Singapore over the comments of a particular Chinese scholar, Sun Xu. This was mainly due to his comments that there “being more dogs than humans in Singapore.”, which sparked uproar amongst Singaporeans, with there being many calls for his scholarship to be revoked, amongst other stuff.
PAP MP Baey Yam Keng, offered his views on the matter, saying that scholarships should be based on merit, and NOT nationality. He is absolutely right to say that. But, there is one main problem that he missed out, which is what based on merit exactly means. We see many scholars amongst us, with no real skill other than the ability to mug and mug, to memorise the textbook and give ‘perfect’ answers for exam, and yet, when they graduate, they are unable to do anything that is really useful. These people have no real skills in the real world. How then, can their scholarships be based on merit?
Now, I am not saying that all foreign scholars have no skills. There are those who do. There are those who have shown their skills, by contributing to the local economy, such as the creators of Huntville. Those people deserve their scholarships.
The problem comes in when the rest, those who have no real skills, other than mugging get the rest of the scholarships. If ability to mug is something of merit, then I have nothing more to say. But the Singapore government has repeatedly said that they want Singapore to progress into a creative economy. They have tried to encourage more creativity here. Surely the right way to go ahead is not to do what they have been doing for the past 20 years, offering scholarships to drones. They should be offering scholarships to people with passion, and the drive to progress, not people who are geniuses at following instructions.
Just my 2 cents.